Summer’s lease has finally begun — time for poolside lounging, al fresco dinner parties, and exotic vacations, preferably somewhere the cocktails come in coconuts. Lightweight and versatile, with insouciant tones to suit the season, the ideal summer handbag collection goes wherever the day takes you, from sun-baked resorts to rooftop galas. Below, Specialist Rachel Koffsky picks a handbag for every summer occasion from Christie’s Handbag Shop, including the perfect everyday Birkin and a rare Hermès Alligator Cactus Constance.
The Everyday Bag
A 35cm tabac swift leather & toile Birkin Bag, Hermès, 2008
The Hermès Birkin Bag is traditionally created out of one animal hide. This summery incarnation, however, is distinguished by its Toile body, accented with swift leather panels and corners, making for a bag that’s lightweight and casual, but also sturdy — a perfect everyday summer bag. The Tabac colour of the swift leather is a lovely, neutral shade that well complements the oatmeal-coloured Toile fabric. The sleek Palladium hardware adds to the effortlessly chic sensibility this lovely Birkin embodies.
Lunch at the Club
A limited edition 30cm sanguine lizard and white & gris perle Clemence leather club Birkin Bag, Hermès, 2011
The ‘Club’ Birkin is a limited edition version of the already highly desirable Birkin Bag. Rendered in immaculate white and pearly gray Clemence leather and separated by Sanguine-coloured (a kind of vermillion red-orange) vertical stripes of lizard, the Club Birkin is stylish without compromising any of the timelessness that makes the Birkin an enduring favorite. At 30cm in size, this Birkin is petite for a day bag and is quickly becoming the most sought-after size among Birkins.
Art Fair Accoutrement
An 18cm matte cactus alligator Constance bag, Hermès, 2013
The Hermès Constance Bag is gaining momentum as a favorite amongst the street-style crowd. Famously impossible to acquire, this iteration is especially rare because of its Cactus colour, which is used only for exotic skins. The Alligator material with matte finish adds to the funkiness of this piece. This Alligator Cactus Constance is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it is truly a wearable masterpiece — perfect for the collector who curates her wardrobe like an art collection.
Left: A set of two; mandarin & coconut Epi Plage Baia Beach Bags, Louis VuittonRight: A coconut Epi Plage Galet Beach Set, Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton created Epi leather as a durable, waterproof travel material. As result, items made with the Epi Plage material are perfect for poolside lounging — at home or at an exotic destination. Vuitton’s Galet Beach Set, shown here, features straps to hold your towel and water bottle. The two Baia Beach Bags also shown are the Beach Set’s natural complement — roomy and lightweight, with a pouch for poolside necessities.
At the Races
A vert anis Togo leather Picotin PM Bag, Hermès, 2008
The lightweight, versatile Picotin is perfect for those hot summer days. The most understated of all Hermès bags, the Picotin was inspired by feed bags created to loop over horses’ ears. In keeping with that rich equestrian heritage, outfit yourself with the Picotin on your trip to Belmont or the Hunt Club this summer.
Want to see more? Browse and buy these and other luxury handbags at Christie’s Handbag Shop.